Value of 99mTc-MIBI SPECT/CT parathyroid imaging and ultrasonography for concomitant thyroid carcinoma

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We aimed to assess the frequency of carcinoma in cases with suspected parathyroid adenoma and test the value of 99mTc-methoxyisobutylisonitrile (99mTc-MIBI) single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) parathyroid imaging and neck ultrasonography in detecting concomitant thyroid carcinoma.

Patients and methods

We enrolled 741 patients with clinically suspected parathyroid adenoma who underwent 99mTc-MIBI planer scans and SPECT/CT of the skull base, neck, and thorax; patients also underwent ultrasonography within 1 month before SPECT/CT. Each case with suspected lesion was analyzed and correlated with pathology. We estimated the frequency of carcinoma detection on SPECT/CT performed for suspected parathyroid adenoma. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of detecting thyroid carcinoma were estimated for both SPECT/CT and ultrasonography.


In total, 222 patients with 250 pathology results were assessed. Of these, 54 patients showed carcinoma. With respect to the anatomical distribution of the incidental findings, 19 (35.19%) had parathyroid carcinoma, 20 (37.04%) had papillary thyroid carcinoma, three (5.56%) had follicular thyroid carcinoma, six (11.11%) had medullary thyroid carcinoma, and six (11.11%) had other carcinomas. For thyroid carcinoma detection, the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 35.71, 88.16, and 80.49% for SPECT/CT and 73.81, 95.10, and 91.99% for ultrasonography, respectively.


The frequency of carcinoma is high on 99mTc-MIBI SPECT/CT performed for suspected parathyroid adenoma. Although 99mTc-MIBI SPECT/CT plays an important role in the diagnosis and location of parathyroid adenoma, ultrasonography appears to be more suitable for identifying a concomitant thyroid carcinoma. This may vitally influence the choice of therapeutic regimen in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism.

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